God's own country is filled with backwaters and beaches. Yes, we are talking about Kerala. Onam, which usually happens during the harvest season of every year, is a time of celebration and time for major water sports in the region. Vallam Kali is the major event that happens during this period. It is a form of canoe racing that uses paddled war canoes. Different types of boats are used to race at different races. Here are the most famous boat races of the region during the harvest season.
Nehru trophy was announced by the first prime minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru when he visited Kerala in 1952. The boat race is held at the Punnamada Lake located near Alappuzha. It is the most famous boat racing event in Kerala. It is conducted on the second Saturday of August every year. Huge snake boats are used for the race. The boat race is a rolling trophy that was given by the then PM as he was fascinated by the way the locals cheered him during his visit to the region. The course of the race is 1.4 km.
Aranmula Boat Race is known as the oldest boat race conducted in Kerala during the Onam season. it is a two-day event that happens at Aranmula, near the Temple of Lord Krishna and Arjuna. It has been a part of the tradition of the Sri Parthasarathy Temple. More than 25 enormous traditional Palliyodams, that can fit about 100 rowers, 25 vocalists, and 15 helmsmen, take part in this occasion. Each boat is decorated with flags, beautiful umbrellas, and golden lace. Groups of men and vocalists gather along the banks of river Pamba to sing stridently in a rhythmic manner at Aranmula.
Kallada Jalothsavam, also known as Kallada Vallam Kali, is one of the most recognized boat races held in Kallada River which is located at the Munroe Thuruthu in Kollam. It is held on the 28th day after Onam. Most of the chundan valloms are seen participating in this event. Various points are covered in the race and the winner of the boat race gets ₹1 lakh and the rolling trophy.
It is one of the oldest and most popular boat races if the region. The boat race is held at the Pampa River at Champakulam, which is close to Alappuzha. The race is held on Moolam day of Midhunam according to the Malayalam calendar. This boat race is the first race of the monsoon and this tradition dates back centuries. The boat race is said to happen on the same day as the idol was first installed in Sri Krishna Temple, Ambalapuzha. It is a race dedicated to Lord Krishna and the boats are decorated very nicely. Different races are held for different kinds of boats. The race is highly regarded as a sight to behold.